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A leading business group has urged the Government to "get off the fence" and take urgent action on legal highs such as Kronic.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said he had asked members whether the chamber should take a stance on the issue of legal drugs such as synthetic cannabis.

Mr Barnett said that within days he received more than 1000 responses saying it should, which prompted him to write an open letter to members of Parliament.

"Of deep concern are responses from chamber members working in the health sector who are witnessing the physical and mental damage caused by party drugs," he wrote.

Mr Barnett noted feedback had been "couched in strong questioning language as to why Parliament has been so slow to act".

He urged Parliament to quickly pass legislation when it resumes next month tomake manufacturers of legal highs prove their products' safety before they can besold.

Such products can now be sold unless they are proven harmful.

"It is outrageous that the safety of our society and especially the young is at risk because we have a system that uses the public as guinea pigs," Mr Barnett said.

Legislation to restrict the advertising and sale of legal highs is to come into effect next month.

Many MPs have expressed strong support for a Law Commission recommendation to do as Mr Barnett suggested and allow the sale of legal highs only once they have been proven safe.

But because of legislative restrictions and November's election, the Government will not move on the recommendation until next year.

Mr Barnett said that delay was not good enough.

"It is urgent. It cannot wait. Not even another day ... it is time to stop this folly.

"The mainstream view is that Parliament needs to get off the fence and act under urgency to legislate to get these products off the shelves of the nation's shops as soon as possible."

This month, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne said amendments to the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill would be the first item of business at Parliament's next session.

He said the changes would clamp down on synthetic cannabis products as a stop-gap measure until the Government could adopt the Law Commission's recommendations.

But Mr Dunne has refused to explain what such an action will entail.

A spokesman for him said yesterday that a measure to shift the onus of proof to manufacturers would take more time.

"That's just not something that can be put in overnight.

"There are complexities to it," the spokesman said.

Party pills king Matt Bowden, who has made millions of dollars importing the chemicals used to make synthetic cannabis, said the products should have been regulated a long time ago.

"It is regrettable that, as with the previous BZP experience, it was not a priority for the Government to do anything prior to the election period," Mr Bowden said.

But "to keep things in perspective", synthetic cannabinoids were considered less harmful than alcohol and cannabis by the Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs, he said.

- additional reporting: Michael Dickison